On Saturday, April 21st, we'll begin writing the first chapter of a new story for America, one of restoring humanity and civility to our conversations and our protests. We're going to Listen First in Charlottesville—where the collapse of civility in America was tragically put into stark relief this past August. With inspiring national voices from across the spectrum, we'll spark a transformational grassroots movement of respect and understanding, in a city that witnessed just the opposite.
I'm excited to introduce you to two of our event co-hosts, heroes of reconciliation who emerged from the racial violence of Ferguson, Missouri and Dallas, Texas with messages of hope and healing.
Dr. Brian Williams, a black trauma surgeon, treated the white police officers who were killed in Dallas. He said through tears on CNN, “I don’t know why this has to be us against them… we are all in this together… all this hatred, all these disagreements, it impacts us all… Something has to be done. I don’t see people truly listening to the other side… and until we’re ready to do that, there probably will not be any truly substantive change.”
Pastor F. Willis Johnson stood in the middle of the racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri to offer love and strength. Reflecting on a poignant moment with a young protester, captured in a dramatic photo, he said, "This is not a race issue in and of itself; it's a human issue." He continues to lead the Ferguson community towards "some point of reconciliation and resolution" because "we want the cycle to stop."
I'm honored to have Dr. Williams and Pastor Johnson join our movement to bridge divides through Listen First Conversations.